Handmade, durable and quality garments: is ‘slow fashion’ the new luxury?

It is also “environmentally responsible”: it reduces waste from the textile industry, uses the resources of the local economy and enhances national culture.

Photo: Tamar Bellis
Photo: Tamar Bellis

Artisan, timeless, durable, quality and environmentally responsible. This is what slow fire fashion is like, what is known as slow fashion, a concept that in Spain has always been linked to the artisan heritage and cultural heritage and today is known as the new luxury.

Slow fashion is clothing “made by hand, durable and quality,” explained this Friday the president of the Association of Fashion Creators of Spain (ACME), Modesto Lomba during breakfast “60 minutes of fashion with EFE Style.

But this fashion, adds Pepa Bueno, executive director of ACME, is “environmentally responsible”: it reduces waste from the textile industry, uses the resources of the local economy -materials and labour-, and values the national culture.

For Margarita Ruyra de Andrade, founder of Es Fascinante, an Internet sales portal that focuses on Spanish slow fashion, this concept is linked to the sustainability of nature and to a local economy that offers greater resources to artisans and fights against rural depopulation.

“Slow fashion is an investment,” says Valentina Suarez-Zuloaga, co-founder of Es Fascinante, who says this trend is slowing the pace of consumption and it is much more “intelligent and responsible” to invest in good quality pieces than to buy more for less money.

“When we talk about craftsmanship in fashion, we are talking about culture, about transmitting knowledge from generation to generation,” said designer Leandro Cano, for whom craftsmanship is the “new luxury.

“Craftsmanship values national and local culture, it empowers our cultural diversity,” says Ruyra de Andrade, a reflection also shared by Luis Torres, a potter who learned the trade thanks to his father, a traditional potter.

However, this young potter has gone further, uniting craftsmanship and design to offer a contemporary product, adapted to new times but “preserving the cultural heritage,” adds Torres, who claims the need for institutional support.

“What is clear is that craftsmanship needs time and knowledge,” says Lomba, who perceives that the consumer lives in a pure “contradiction.

On the one hand it wants to “take care of the environment and its health”, on the other it consumes in an “irresponsible” way, ignoring the working conditions of the workers, the deterioration of the planet or the waste that can be generated by the compulsive consumption of garments.

Faced with this situation of disorientation of consumption, the young Valentina Suarez-Zuloaga believes that it is necessary and very important to educate new generations in “responsible purchasing”.

Although until very recently design and slow, quality manufacturing was only on the lips of people over 40 years old, today it is common among the youngest. “They are beginning to raise awareness, we have a duty to educate them,” adds Suaréz-Zuloaga, who assures that “this fashion, although more expensive, compensates in the long run.

The industrialization has normalized the bad sewing, with deficient finishes and terrible fabrics, “that go against the professional ethics”, says the president of ACME, who assures that “the great consumption does not have values, the craftsmanship yes”.

The habits of overflowing consumption have led us to a malpractice in which one buys without need. “The democratization of fashion also has to make society think in order to adopt new purchasing habits,” says Luis Torres.

Slow fashion should not be massive, on the contrary “it has to be of reduced consumption, because its elaboration implies waiting times” says Suárez-Zuloaga, who recognizes that “it is not a fashion for everyone”.

In this society in which early fashion prevails, design and quality clothing are a business opportunity not alien to the picaresque because anyone “gets in the car” and begins to appear the “intrusion,” says Leandro Cano, for whom slow fashion is artisan, with unique pieces that are linked to “exclusivity.

“Spain is a country that looks in the mirror and doesn’t like itself, it always wants to be another”, concludes Lomba, who assures that “if you don’t value culture you lose your identity”, hence the importance of preserving and valuing artesa sewing.

Author: El Español.